Step 2: Introduction to the Hub

The Hub

The Hub is Boston University’s system of general education requirements.  The Hub does not require that you take a specific set of courses, but rather encourages you to explore your interests while integrating Hub requirements with your undergraduate studies.

There are six capacities that make up the Hub:

  • Philosophical, Aesthetic, and Historical Interpretation (3 units)
  • Scientific & Social Inquiry (3 units)
  • Quantitative Reasoning (2 units)
  • Diversity, Civic Engagement, & Global Citizenship (4 units)
  • Communication (6 units)
  • Intellectual Toolkit (8 units)

Each of the above capacities is comprised of more specific areas.  Each areas may require one or two units.  Students must earn 26 Hub units across these six capacities in order to graduate. A course can carry more than one Hub unit, and most students will fulfill Hub requirements in 10-12 courses. Hub courses can also count toward major and minor requirements, and students can elect to fulfill one unit with a preapproved co-curricular learning experience.  The Questrom major’s curriculum covers 16 to 20 of the 26 required Hub units (the required EC101, EC102, and MA121 courses at BU carry hub units that are not covered by equivalent AP or IB advanced placement exams).  Students complete the remaining units with elective courses.

You will learn much more about these Hub requirements at Orientation, but the below nine areas are not covered by the Questrom major’s curriculum, so they are often good places to start.

  • Philosophical Inquiry
  • Aesthetic Exploration
  • Historical Consciousness
  • Scientific Inquiry I
  • Scientific or Social Inquiry II (covered by MA121 at BU)
  • Individual in Community
  • Global Citizenship/Intercultural Literary (covered by EC102 at BU)
  • Writing Intensive Course (WR120 or equivalent is a prerequisite)
  • Two Critical Thinking (covered by MA121 and EC101 at BU)

Use the Course Description Search to search for courses by Hub area.  If you have more questions about the Hub, please see the Hub FAQ page.

So what does that mean for you?

Not all students will register for an elective course in their first semester.

But, if you are expecting external credit for Economics or Calculus, you should replace the course with an elective (one for each course filled by external credit).  If you don’t have your exam scores yet, please be optimistic but realistic.  The First Year Survey in the next step will help you decide if you should register for an elective and if so, how many.

You can search for an elective in the University Class Schedule on the Student Link and click on the course itself (highlighted in red) to see a course description.  Or, use Course Description Search to search for classes by topic or by Hub unit.

Still stumped?  You can also search the University Class Search for courses by time when you go to “Add Classes” by “Class Subject” in your Planner.  You can leave the subject field as “any” and then put a specific time block that you have open to look for your elective.

Things to consider when selecting an elective:

Using the Course Search, start by looking for a class with one or more of the following units: Philosophical Inquiry (PLM), Aesthetic Exploration (AEX), Historical Consciousness (HCO), Scientific Inquiry I (SCI I).   These are not the only units you’ll need to think about during your four years, but they are usually good choices for first year students — there are a lot of options!  Other units you’ll need, especially Individual in Community (IIC) and Critical Thinking (CRT) often come with other units, so it’s okay to leave them until later.

What sounds interesting? Is there a subject that you’d love to learn more about? Now’s your chance!

Questrom School of Business does not have a foreign language requirement, unless you are considering a dual degree (there may be a language requirement in the partner school).  If you are interested in starting or continuing a foreign language at Boston University, you will need to take a placement exam to determine your proficiency and appropriate course level.

  • If you are continuing study in FrenchItalianPortuguese, or Spanish, please see instructions for the online placement tests.
  • If you are continuing study in ChineseGermanHebrew, or Japanese, please see instructions for the online placement tests.

These are not the only languages that BU offers! The above languages have online placement exams, but other languages have placement exams during the first week of classes in September. In addition to the languages listed above, Boston University also offers: Akan Twi, Arabic, American Sign Language, Amharic, Farsi, Greek (both ancient & modern), Hindi-Urdu, Hausa, Igbo, Korean, Latin, Persian, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, Wolof, Xhosa, and Zulu. Please contact the CAS Foreign Language Advisor at or check the World Languages & Literatures website

If the minor/dual degree you’re considering is through the College of Arts and Sciences or the School of Hospitality, taking an introductory course in the subject you’re considering would be wise!  You cannot take introductory courses in most of the other specialty schools until your second semester.  You can find more information about required minor courses here:  To register for the Introductory Hospitality course (SHA HF100), please email your name, ID number, and share your interest in pursuing a Hospitality minor to Robyn at

If the minor/dual degree you’re considering is through the College of Communication, you should take WR120 in your first semester instead as COM requires additional writing courses.  Be sure to mention this to your advisor if this is a path that you are considering.

If you are considering a minor in Sustainable Energy, many of the introductory elective courses for Sustainable Energy are only offered in the Fall.  You should prioritize CAS EE150 and/or ENG EK225 as electives for your first semester.

Beginning in a language or continuing on in a language would be a good elective choice if you’re thinking about going to a place that requires some level of foreign language proficiency (like Spain or Germany).  The introductory courses for a language are numbered “111,” but if you’ve taken the language before, you should take the language placement exam.

You should plan to take CAS CH101 in your first semester for sequencing reasons.  Connect with Robyn or your assigned academic advisor early so you can talk about your long term plan.